Sean McVay will face many challenges in his first season as an NFL head coach, but the Rams’ 31-year-old leader won’t have to worry about long trips — at least initially.
The Rams play their first two games at the Coliseum against the Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins and then play a Thursday night game at San Francisco, giving McVay time to get his bearings before the longer trips and challenges begin.
“The NFL schedule release is one of the most anticipated events for football fans and we’re looking forward to opening the 2017 season with two games at home,” McVay said in a statement. “Our fans give us one of the best home field advantages in the National Football League and we’re excited to get in front of them at the Coliseum this fall.”
Last season, the Rams were 1-6 at home. In the Rams’ first year in Los Angeles in more than two decades, they were on the road for three of their first four games and five of their first seven, including a game in London.
The Rams will return to London to play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7.
The Rams will not appear on “Monday Night Football” and are not currently scheduled to play a prime-time game on a Sunday night.
USC and the Rams played back-to-back games at the Coliseum twice in 2016. This season it will occur three times in the first five weeks.
The schedule includes four opponents that made the playoffs in 2016 — the Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1), Dallas Cowboys (13-3), New York Giants (11-5) and Houston Texans (9-7). The Tennessee Titans (9-7) are the only other opponent that finished with a winning record.
Sept. 10: INDIANAPOLIS, 1 p.m. PT, (Ch. 2, CBS) — The last time Colts quarterback Andrew Luck played in the Coliseum, he helped Stanford to a 56-48, triple-overtime victory over USC. Linebacker Akeem Ayers, cut by the Rams last year, plays for the Colts.
Sept. 17: WASHINGTON, 1:15 p.m., (Ch. 11, Fox) — New Rams coach Sean McVay, the Redskins’ former offensive coordinator, will entertain — and attempt to beat — old friends. Former Rams receiver Brian Quick signed with Washington.
Sept. 21: at San Francisco, 5:15 p.m., (NFL Network) — Jared Goff is on track to finally play in his home region after spending the 2016 opener at Levi’s Stadium inactive. McVay, at 31 the NFL’s youngest coach, goes up against the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, 37, the second youngest.
Oct. 1: at Dallas, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — The Rams play the Cowboys in August in their first preseason game and then travel to Jerry’s World in Week 4. Running back Lance Dunbar no doubt wants to make an impact against his old team.
Oct. 8: SEATTLE, 1, (Ch. 2) — Don’t count on a repeat of 2016, when the Rams defeated the Seahawks and a hobbled Russell Wilson at the Coliseum without scoring a touchdown. The Seahawks added running back Eddie Lacy in the offseason.
Oct. 15: at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Will the Jaguars have drafted a quarterback to replace Blake Bortles? The Rams will probably spend a few extra days in Florida before leaving for London.
Oct. 22: vs. Arizona Cardinals at London, 10 a.m. (Ch. 11) — The Rams are 0-2 in London, including last season’s loss against the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium. This year’s later kickoff time will make TV viewing in Los Angeles a bit easier.
Oct. 29: Off.
Nov. 5: at New York Giants, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — After last season’s trip to London, and a bye, the Rams played at home. This season, they must go across the country to play against Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and company.
Nov. 12: HOUSTON, 1 p.m., (Ch. 2) — Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips coached with the Texans for three seasons. With the Brock Osweiler experiment over and wished-for Tony Romo in the CBS broadcast booth, who starts at quarterback for the Texans?
Nov. 19: at Minnesota, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — There is optimism in Rams Land, but it’s doubtful that the Rams will make more than one trip to this season’s Super Bowl site. Former Rams starting quarterback Case Keenum is a backup for Sam Bradford.
Nov. 26: NEW ORLEANS, 1 p.m., (Ch. 11) — With former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams gone to Cleveland, this matchup lacks the intrigue from last season’s Williams-Sean Payton “Bountygate” reunion. Rams defensive line coach Bill Johnson came from the Saints staff.
Dec. 3: at Arizona, 1:15 p.m., (Ch. 11) — The Rams mistakenly thought they were legitimate contenders when they defeated the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in 2016. Will McVay deliver an early Christmas present to Arizona coach Bruce Arians, a la Jeff Fisher?
Dec. 10: PHILADELPHIA, 1:15 p.m., (Ch. 11) — It’s the compare-and-contrast bowl as Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, faces an Eagles team led by No. 2 pick Carson Wentz. Rams linebacker Connor Barwin faces his most recent employer.
Dec. 17: at Seattle, 1 p.m., (Ch. 11) — At least it’s not a cold Thursday night game this year. Will cornerback Richard Sherman still be with Seahawks to revisit the tackle he made on Goff?
Dec. 24: at Tennessee, 10 a.m., (Ch. 11) — Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, the second pick in the 2015 draft, appears to be hitting his stride. The Rams not only fired Jeff Fisher, but also the roster is now void of players with Titans ties.
Dec. 31: SAN FRANCISCO, 1:15 p.m., (Ch. 11) — Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a free agent, apparently won’t be in position to beat the Rams in the final seconds at the Coliseum for a second year in a row. It shapes up as a rockin’ New Year’s Eve in L.A. with Chargers also entertaining the Raiders.
Times also were announced for most of the Rams’ preseason games: Aug. 12, vs. Dallas, 6 p.m., (Ch. 2); Week 2, TBA, at Oakland; Aug. 26, vs. Chargers, 5 p.m., (Ch. 2); Aug. 31, at Green Bay, 4 p.m. (Ch. 2).
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein